Alec Baldwin speaks on life’s ups & downs at BAM
His new book ‘Nevertheless: A Memoir’ is now for sale
This past weekend, Alec Baldwin had an especially busy schedule in New York City.
On Saturday, he reprised his role as President Donald Trump and introduced viewers to his first stab at Bill O’Reilly on “Saturday Night Live,” a show that he has hosted a record 17 times. On Sunday, he appeared in conversation with Anna Sale as part of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) and Greenlight Bookstore’s “Unbound” series, where he discussed the ups and downs of his life and his newly released book “Nevertheless: A Memoir.”
Busy is a lifestyle Baldwin has undoubtedly grown accustomed to, however, as he also spends his days helping his wife Hilaria raise their three children under the age of 5 in their Greenwich Village residence.
Baldwin has had an expansive career and played a variety of roles, garnering everything from an Oscar nomination to 16 Emmy nominations and two wins. His current movie, an animated comedy titled “The Boss Baby,” is No. 1 in the country. But the oft-funnyman showed a different side at Sunday’s event, where he spoke honestly about his childhood on Long Island, decades of working as an actor, his disastrous divorce, dealing with fatherhood in the public eye and, of course, the current commander-in-chief.
Sale, who is the creator and host of “Death, Sex & Money,” a podcast from WNYC Studios, the same studio that produce’s Baldwin’s “Here’s the Thing” podcast, was no shy moderator, either.
Without wasting any time, Sale asked Baldwin about his cocaine addiction and overdose at the age of 26.
“Is your podcast called, ‘Drugs, Death, Sex & Money’?” he quipped before explaining how difficult that period of his life was.
This was only the first of a slew of questions that examined an extremely personal side of Baldwin. He also discussed the infamous voicemail he left his daughter Ireland in 2007, who was 11 at the time, which earned him a massive amount of bad press and even ended some career deals.
“The internet is a tough neighborhood,” Baldwin said of the endless criticism he and other celebrities are apt to receive from various news outlets and Twitter trolls regarding personal issues. Speaking on the same topic of his daughter, he quoted his own father as saying, “Parenting is a competition between two people where the dad always wins the bronze medal,” which he seemed to agree with.
While the star has written about personal issues before, specifically in “A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce” published in 2008, this is the first time he has examined his life from beginning to now.
Baldwin, who said writing about his childhood in “Nevertheless” deepened his understanding of himself and his role as a parent, also spoke about losing his father at a young age and his constant search for a replacement father figure throughout his life.
He found one, in his “The Doctors” co-star David O’Brien, who introduced Baldwin to the gay scene in New York City and remained a dear friend to him until his death in 1989.
One thing Baldwin said he learned from O’Brien: “If you make enough money, you can have a lot of fun in this town.”
Sale and Baldwin also spoke about the actor’s celebrity persona, and how it can sometimes feel like he is “playing Alec Baldwin,” as well as the characters he actually plays in films and on television.
However, Baldwin ceded that he has managed to stay true to himself while taking part in the fame game.
He emphasized the importance of sticking to a “one for you, one for them” regimen — aka do your job in the commercial aspect by promoting your movie and appearing on late-night talk shows, and then do something creatively interesting to you as well. One of these “for yous” may have been when Baldwin returned to NYU Tisch to earn his undergraduate degree as a middle-aged man, where his final project consisted of asking Al Pacino more than 200 questions about theater and film.
Although the show was full of impressions, from the star’s take on Woody Allen making a drug deal to Pacino avoiding Baldwin’s interview questions, it was clear from the beginning which character the actor would choose to end on.
“I get a terrible neck ache from playing Trump,” he said. “The wig is the star.”
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